The scientific tracheal system within an individual is composed of interconnecting transverse and longitudinal tracheae which maintain equivalent pressure throughout the system. These tracheae branch repeatedly, eventually forming tracheoles, which are blind-ended, water-filled compartments only one micrometer in diameter. It is at this level of the tracheoles that oxygen is delivered to the cells for respiration. Insects were once believed to exchange gases with the environment continuously by the simple diffusion of gases into the tracheal system. More recently, however, large variation in insect ventilatory patterns have been documented and insect respiration appears to be highly variable. Some small insects do demonstrate continuous respiration and may lack muscular control of the spiracles.
The present book is offered as a classroom text for an introductory course in the subject, which shall give a general idea of insects and their structure.